You’ve heard it haven’t you? You’ve heard others say how powerful of a tool client referrals can be when growing your client base.
I for one would attest to that. I’ve been using referrals for quite some time now and it has helped me get more clients, even without me having to do my usual client acquisition strategies/methods.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to ask for client referrals, then this guide is what you need. The tips and ideas that I’ll share with you will help drastically increase your chances of getting your clients to say, “Sure!”, when you go for the big ask.
Let’s hop right in.
1. Don’t beg. Position your ask strategically.
Don’t make your client referral ask sound like you’re begging.
If you’re reaching out to them telling them that you don’t have enough money to pay your bills, so you’d appreciate it if they’ll refer you to their community, you’re doing it wrong — terribly wrong!
Instead of going the “pity-me” approach, ask in this manner instead, “Hey (your client’s first name), is there anyone you know who might need my services?”
Asking in this manner will make you sound like you just want to help others solve their problems.
2. Ask when you are praised about your output. No matter how small of a praise it might be.
This strategy has worked wonders for me.
Whenever I ask for referrals immediately after my client praises me, they almost always respond very positively.
I mean, when I ask on a normal scenario where they haven’t praised me or anything, I tend to get a, “Sure Jim. I’ll help you”, reply. However, whenever I ask for a referral where my clients have just praised me, they reply with, “Absolutely Jim! You’re the man and I’ll be more than happy to tell the world about how awesome your work is…”
The difference in their replies are like night and day.
Follow this strategy and you’ll never get a negative reply from your prospect clients.
More importantly, they tend to take action on your referral ask immediately in scenarios like these. I know this because minutes after they’ll tell me that they’ll refer me, they’ll get back to me saying 2 – 3 of his/her contact will connect with me today or within this week to discuss the possible opportunity.
Isn’t this strategy amazing?
All you need to do is provide solid work (just like you normally would), then you’ll manage to get more clients.
3. Do not ask when you haven’t completed your work, or proven your worth yet.
If you’ve heard of others saying that they ticked off their client because of their referral ask, then you need to dig deeper and learn about how they asked for the referral, and when they did it (among others things).
Here’s the thing, just like in most things in life, there is a right way of asking for referrals, and the wrong way.
Of course, asking for referrals when you have not yet established how “referral-worthy” you are is a terrible mistake.
This mistake is so wrong in so many levels, mind you.
In your client’s point of view, when you ask for referrals even if you haven’t shown him your work could mean that your just interested in getting more projects.
That’s a big “no no”.
You need to show your existing clients that you are focused on their project alone, and that you aren’t thinking of any other clients but them. You need to make them feel confident that you are giving their projects your best efforts.
4. Be careful with the timing.
It goes without saying that if your client isn’t in a good mood, you ought not to ask for referrals. Asking for referrals when your client is seeing red can cause you all sorts of problems. Enough said.
5. Build a meaningful relationship with your clients.
Having a meaningful relationship with your clients (or to everyone for that matter) almost always pays.
When you’ve reached a point where you can chat, or laugh with your clients casually, there’s just no reason why they would take offense in you asking for referrals, right?
However, as you can probably imagine, you’ll only get to a point where you can have an established enough relationship with your clients if you are consistent in giving them quality results.
It will only happen if you’ve won their trust, and they see you as someone who has genuine concern for them.
6. Be confident when asking.
There are a lot of misconceptions about asking for referrals.
Most freelancers think that doing so is beneath them, and that their clients might get turned off because of them asking.
They can never be further from the truth.
Look. Even if you ask seasoned freelancers (and business) who are worth their salt, they’ll be upfront in telling you that they are keen on asking for referrals.
They have a totally different mindset about it.
They rarely worry about blowing off a relationship with their clients because of referrals, because they know that it rarely happens.
Not asking for referrals is a mistake that most beginners make. I know this because I had the same mindset as well during my first few months in freelancing online.
It was only when I heard a podcast about the techniques on asking for referrals that I ended up trying it. And guess what… it works! It actually works quite well!
In fact, I’ve been trying to ask for referrals whenever I can from my clients, ever since my first success with the strategy.
Here’s the kicker… I don’t ever remember anyone getting annoyed at me for asking for referrals. In short — I didn’t have any burned bridges because of me asking for referrals. Not a single one.
Have you been asking your existing clients for more referrals? What are some of the techniques that you’re using to get them to say “yes”, and to increase the chances of them taking action in their commitment to helping you with referrals?
Please share your ideas in the comments section below. Cheers!